Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How Am I Going To Beat 96 Stage Shows This Year?

I don't want to steal away from ModFab's Stage Addiction thunder but I'm going to go on a Theatre linking binge right now, so bear with me or just wait until I get back to my regular TV programing/posting.

So I saw 96 shows last year on stage and I doubt I'll surpass that this year especially as I should probably save my money a bit more this year with the current tanking economy, but I'm sure I'll still try! (So far I'm at 2, but then again, I was at 1 this time last year).

I mean, I know I'll already be going back to Spring Awakening a few times when the National Tour finally hits Toronto in March! (Seriously, join The Toronto Guilty Ones!) (Only 2 more times before I break my own record for seeing a musical the most times!)

Now, I've already seen Hair (loved it!) , West Side Story (loved it!) and 9 to 5 (liked it) in their pre-Broadway runs (and I'll probably go see them again), but I feel like I don't have many new musicals left to see on Broadway (and no, I still have no intention of seeing Mary Poppins or The Little Mermaid).

(BTW, 9 to 5 just released Stephanie J. Block singing "Get Out and Stay Out")

There still is Guys and Dolls (with Lauren Graham, Oliver Platt and Craig Bierko), The Story of My Life (with Malcolm Gets and Will Chase, yum!) and Rock of Ages (which is getting such good word of mouth from people I would never have thought would have liked it that I guess I'll have to go see it, especially now that it's moving to Broadway) that I would like to see, but I'll have to figure out when I have time to return back to New York.

Meanwhile, as Broadway shutters down a lot of the musicals (man, even Wicked and Jersey Boys aren't selling out anymore. Whoa. I mean, no worries that they will close (sadly, Phantom won't die either) but still. No more 101% capacities right now), tons of plays are taking its place. Blithe Spirit (with Christine Ebersole, Rupert Everett and Angela Lansbury), Gods of Carnage (with James Gandolfini, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, and Marcia Gay Harden) and reasons to be pretty (with Piper Perabo and Steven Pasquale (Rescue Me)) sound pretty interesting.

Then there are other starry plays that I feel I should be more excited about, but so far I'm not. 33 Variations (with Jane Fonda), Impressionism (with Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen), Exit the King (with Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon), Accent on Youth (with David Hyde Pierce), The American Plan (with Mercedes Ruehl), Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Irena's Vow (with Tovah Feldshuh), The Philanthropist (with Matthew Broderick), Waiting For Godot (with Bill Irwin, Nathan Lane, John Goodman, and David Strathairn), Mary Stuart (with Janet McTeer) and Hedda Gabler (with Mary Louise Parker, which sadly didn't get great reviews).

Who said Broadway's shutting down? Just the musicals. Well, let's get out of New York then.

I'm seeing Minsky's and Pippin in LA a month from now! Pictures from Pippin are out (and a first look video) and reviews should be out soon. Word is it's problematic but still pretty good and better than the 2007 Goodspeed production. Most interestingly, it's a coproduction with Deaf West Theatre, so the musical is also entirely signed. With many characters portrayed by two actors. One regular singing, one signing. (Including Michael Arden (Bare) and Tyrone Giordano (Big River) both as Pippin). The awesome Harriet Harris also stars!

Minsky's is the new musical from Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone) starring Christopher Fitzgerald (the one redeeming thing from Young Frankenstein) and Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone).

Here's also an early look at Minsky's from the local LA NBC affiliate:

I'm also heading to London in 2 months but I'm still trying to figure out what I should see in my limited time there. (Plus, I want cheap if possible. You know. Recession! (Okay, fine. I'm just generally cheap)). I think my choices are down to New Boy, Carousel, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, La Cage Aux Folles, Three Days of Rain and Sunset Boulevard. (I'm skipping Priscilla Queen of the Desert (UPDATE: I forgot to explain why. It's because it's rumoured that it will open in Toronto later this fall!!! So I'll get to see it at home anyways) and I'd love to see A Little Night Music but I get there after it closes).

At this point I'm only going to be there for a weekend and I'm already seeing Madame de Sade with Dame Judi Dench at the Wyndham (from tickets I bought almost a YEAR ago!), but I'd like to fit whatever I can in my short time there. I may try to stretch my visit if I can, but there's no guarantee so most of it might have to be last minute.

Hmm... so what to see, what to see? Three Days of Rain has James McAvoy. Yum! But I can't afford close up and would be stuck at the back of the theatre up high so is there really a point? (Plus I just saw the Broadway revival recently with Julia, Bradley and Paul).

Entertaining Mr. Sloane has Matthew Horne from Gavin & Stacey and Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Vera Drake)! But Orton scares me. And I've never even seen any of his shows before yet.

New Boy might be my most likely choice even though I know nothing about the play or the author, but Nicholas Hoult (below, Skins, About A Boy) makes his stage debut, plus tickets are "cheap" (at least in London terms)! Plus, you know. Nicholas Hoult! All grown up!

I've never seen Carousel, La Cage Aux Folles, or Sunset Boulevard so I'm curious. Not a big Webber fan but I'm curious about Sunset (though reviews were middling I think) and I figure I should see the classic Carousel.

But again, I need a deal too. I need CHEAP! (And sadly I find London theatres no longer offers as many good deals as New York does, though maybe the recession might change that). I'll be going back in the summer too (to see Jude Law in Hamlet so I could probably save the longer run shows for then).

Meanwhile, if you're in Toronto, the promotional coupon code HARPO gets you 50% off The Color Purple at the Canon Theatre (via Mirvish).

Also through Mirvish, codes SASTAR or SPRING will get you 20% off Tue-Thur shows from March 17-26th (the first 2 weeks of the run) of Spring Awakening at the Canon (via Mirvish).

And the code MUSIC will get you the $199 "Family pack" of 4 tickets to The Sound of Music (for Wednesday through Friday (7:30) and Sunday evening (6:30) performances only).

And Acting Upstage in Toronto will be producing a revival of A New Brain (by William Finn (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) and James Lapine (Sunday in the Park with George). No deal but it's generally pretty inexpensive already. This little upstart theatre company has done pretty well in the past year with Edges and A Man of No Importance and this is probably the starriest (in Toronto terms) cast yet (with Steven Gallagher, Barbara Barsky, Thom Allison and Patricia Zentilli).

Also, don't forget, a bunch of Degrassi kids (and others) will star in Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead opens at Six Degrees (on Yonge north of Eglinton) starting March 13th with an official opening on April 1st!

And then in 3 months, I'm heading back to D.C. to see Ragtime, one of my favorite musicals of all time.

But while I'm in D.C., I want to try to catch two new musicals by Michael John LaChiusa at the Signature Theatre. A musical adaptation of Edna Ferber's Giant and See What I Wanna See (a new musical based on short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa).

Finally, in theatre news at the cinemas, Every Little Step, the great documentary that followed the audition process to the Broadway revival of A Chorus Line (a show about auditioning for a Broadway show), is being released in North America on April 17th 2009!

Now let's hope Passing Strange gets a release date. The film version of last years Broadway musical (filmed by Spike Lee) debuted at Sundance to rave reviews.

So in the end, I averaged $26.61 per show last year. Let's see if I can beat that this year! (Plus who said that seeing theatre needs to be expensive? There are ways! Though yes, that means I spent $2555 last year. So THAT'S where all my money went. Oh well, I would have probably lost it all in the stock market anyways. At least this way I was entertained!)

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


Esther said...

Wow, awesome roundup Vance! I can't wait to hear what you think of Minsky's. I loved "About a Boy" so I think it would be cool to see Nicholas Hoult. But two other shows I'd love to see if I could get to London would be "Pitmen Painters," by Lee Hall, who wrote "Billy Elliot" and "War Horse" which apparently has some amazingly lifelike horse puppets.

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

What a list, Vance! I'm green with envy.

Don't sell yourself short - go see Priscilla when you're in London. If it's half as good as what I saw in Sydney, you'll love it.

Vance said...

Oh, I just realized I forgot to explain why I'm skipping Priscilla. I actually REALLY want to see it but it's the worst kept secret that apparently it's opening here in Toronto later this fall!!!

So I'll already get to see it in Toronto (I'm part of the current subscription season so it should be part of my renewal) (though official announcement is in mid Feb., or so rumour has it).

So I figure with my little time in London, I need to spend my time elsewhere.

Yah, it wasn't a slight towards Priscilla. Oops. (Im going to fix it in the post)

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